Scott Maddox of Wellston shot this unique drop rack buck on opening day. Antler abnormality is not uncommon, although a full drop rack is.
December 01, 2011Hunters, young and old, live for those magical moments of spotting a mature whitetail buck. Your heart skips a beat as you observe him work a distant oak ridge or sneak his way through a cedar swamp.
His antlers high and majestic, thick main beams, tall tines, symmetrical with good brow tines, a respectable 120-ish Michigan buck.
Scott Maddox, 42, of Wellston is no stranger to the outdoors and has seen plenty of those kind of bucks over the years. And he has seen his share of odd racks as well, but none quite like this one.
His buck this year though is perhaps the most unique and interesting of them all.
"I've been hunting since I was 12 years old, this buck is unbelievable," Scott told me, the excitement still clearly heard in his voice.
A full drop rack buck. Yes, that's right, rather than the rack pointing skyward, the rack wraps around the deer's head!
"I talked with a retired DNR Officer and he told me he has never seen anything like it before in all his years," he went on to say.
Scott first saw the buck last fall, hunting state land near Wellston.
"I first thought it was a doe with something hanging off the side of her head. Didn't think much about it till this year, when I caught it on my trail cam," Scott explains.
As it turned out it was a buck with what you might call, reverse antler growth.
Both sides of this rack were nearly identical, making it a symmetrical 8-pointer. Maddox feels had the rack been upward instead of downward the buck could score 120 or so.
"The buck had developed into an eight pointer, with good mass," he continued.
At that point, Scott became determined to harvest this most unique of unique bucks. He set a treestand on public land not far from where he got the trail cam photos. Scott wasn't sure how many people had seen the buck, he just knew he wanted this unusual buck. And he wasn't saying much about it until he did get it.
Abnormalities can be caused by an antler injury, a body injury, genetics or the animal's age. It is not yet clear what caused this strange and unusual full drop rack of the 'Maddox Buck.' Scott and others believed an accident as a yearling caused the abnormalities of the rack.
"He appeared to be perfectly healthy," Scott told me.
"He was able to eat, although it couldn't be easy for him. The brow tine on his left side was pushing down on his eye, surely in time it would blind him. I doubt he would have made the winter, he looked a little distressed," Scott said.
On opening day of the bow season, Scott climbed into his tree and waited and hoped specifically for a chance at the drop rack buck. Scott wanted that buck on his wall.
With his crossbow in hand, the buck showed up just as Scott had suspected in the late afternoon.
"When I first saw him headed my way, my heart was nearly beating out of my chest," recalls Scott.
"Oh come on, give me a good shot," he remembers thinking.
After wandering a bit the buck made his way in, turned broadside at 15 yards, making an easy shot for the experienced hunter.
Maddox first saw this buck in the late bow season last year. This summer he set a trail cam and got this photo.
"It was a solid hit, perfect placement. He ran about 35 yards and collapsed," he told me.
"It is amazing the rack is surprisingly symmetrical, the right side matches the left and good tine length. If he went upward instead of downward, I think he may have scored 120 or better," Scott said.
Scott wants people to see this buck. He is convinced had he not taken the buck, it would not have made it through another winter. It was going to be a slow death. Weakness and vision problems had already started to take it's toll on the buck.
"It made me feel good to take him out of the herd. It's not the kind of rack you think of when you set out to go hunting," Scott chuckles.
One thing is certain, there aren't many deer quite like the "Maddox Buck."